What a tremendous last day!!!
Trip Start Dec 18, 2010
20Trip End Jan 04, 2011
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We were up early...5:00 am wake-up call. Packed and breakfast on the boat. And a 6:00 am (Egyptian time) departure via bus...so we left about 6:40!
I think we saved the best day until last, and I didn't think that was possible. We boarded the bus and headed for the West Bank (as they call it) of the Nile, or more commonly known as "The Valley of the Kings and Queens." I know you've heard of it. It's where King Tut's tomb was discovered by Howard Carter in 1922 in the Gurna Hlls west of Luxor.
Tombs of 64 kings and 57 queens have been discovered, and they keep discovering more (last was in 2000). These tombs are fabulously decorated - especially the one of Ramses VI. All the walls were not only carved, but painted as well. And I mean painted like they were done two weeks ago. Vivid reds, yellow, blues and browns. We visited three tombs in the Valley of the Kings - could have visited King Tut's but it was $20 more and our guide told us the tomb of Ramses VI was much better...and it was. All were just amazing!
So, we're walking back to the bus and I see to my right hand side about half way down the hill, that they are doing some actual excavating...Egyptian workers carrying stones and baskets of rubble out of a tomb. And there was this man, an older man who I thought looked familar heading into a small trailer (looked like an old camper trailer).
Curiosity got the best of me and I approached the trailer. I said, "Sir, can I ask where are you from?" (knowing he was leading the dig). He said, "Well, I'm originally from Seattle, Washington, but I'm at the American University in Cairo now," I said, "I know, I see you on The History Channel all the time...you're Kent...and I hesitated, not remembering his last name." He rescued me saying, "Yes, I'm Kent Weeks." I said, (acting like a real History Channel nerd), "I watch you all the time. You're the one who discovered the tomb of the sons of Ramses II." He said, "Yes, KV5."
He saw my ISU hat and Band Jacket and said, "I'll bet you're glad you're not back in Illinois right now. I heard they've had some bad weather." I said, "Well, I better let you go, I just wanted to let you know what a pleasure it was to meet you (how geeky can you get Dave!). He said, "The pleasure was all mine."
I was on cloud nine the rest of the day!!! How cool was that????
Next stop was the Temple of Hapsetshut...one of only three queens who became pharos. Her temple was the largest and most impressive of all the temples we had seen. Got some great pictures there. Our final stop was the two Singing Statues of King Aminophis the Third, known as "The Colossi of Memnon." Very cool.
Then it was back to the boat, got our luggage, met our new guide who was going to take us back to the airport. We started to get into the van when he said, "Do you have everything? Passports...Yes. Tickets...No, our itinerary says you should have them and will give them to us (we showed him). He said, "OK, no problem." But we were very worried at this point in time. He made a few calls on the way to the airport, and after a 15 minute uncomfortable wait outside security, he got our tickets and we were on our way to Cairo. Whew!
We met our new guide (did I tell you I have to tip all these guys?), and dropped Laura off at her international flight back to Israel. I waited with the luggage while our guide walked Sandy and Laura to what I"m sure was a tearful goodbye at her check-in. You mothers out there know exactly what I mean. I was better off with the luggage.
Then to the Le Meridian Hotel (That's where I'm writing from now.) for about 5 hours before being packed up for our trip back to New York. With any luck at all we'll be in NYC at 5:15 am tomorrow. Oh, yea, Laura called and the Israeli security confiscated her hair dryer (are you kidding me?). She said the nice man at Delta Security would have it for us when we checked in for our flight. We'll see. And I see another tipping opportunity...geez! We'll it's about 8:00 pm, and our driver comes at 9:00 pm. I'll finish this saga from Bloomington, Illinois (we hope) tomorrow night.
Our best to all. See you soon!